Beginner photography tips from a professional photographer

Starting a new hobby can often feel a bit overwhelming. With so much information to take in, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Fear not! For all you budding photographers out there, we caught up with Dimitri, a professional photographer and photography teacher based on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

Dimitri, a native of Athens, swapped life as an engineer to running photography holidays – and what better place than Zakynthos for that?

If someone is just starting out in photography, what are the top 3 things they must have?

Just like any hobby, I think these are essential…

  • a passion for photography
  • patience to learn
  • being open to new challenges

What type of camera do I need?

A simple digital camera will do the trick as you are getting started. It is about you, the photographer, using the tools, subjects and light to the best of your abilities (great views never hurt either!), rather than a flashy device.

Man and woman looking at laptop computer

Dimitri shows student how to use software to enhance photos

What accessories are beneficial for beginners?

A tripod: this will give you extra stability as you seek the perfect shot.

A remote shutter release: remotes are very handy when shooting night and landscape shots. When longer exposures are required, it will reduce camera shake and blur. They are also essential for self portraits and group shots.

How many lenses and what types of lenses do I need?

The most useful is the polarising filter. Polarising filters help reduce reflections, they minimise blown out areas in your photos, and they also add more vivid colour and better contrast to your photos. You wouldn’t believe the difference it can make to your photos once you use it!

The second type of filter useful to the beginner is a neutral density (ND) filter. ND filters reduce the amount of light hitting your camera’s sensor, without affecting the overall colour.

How can I take care of my new kit?

A good camera bag is essential to taking care of everything. Choose one that feels comfortable to you, as you will be carrying it often.

Right. So now I have the right kit, how much is this going to cost me?

Well, like anything else, as much as or little as you want!

To start, everything can be purchased on the cheap – each piece can go anywhere from £20 to about £350 (for example, if you feel the need for a Coach camera bag, that will cost about £250) but there’s no need to be extreme.

This is why photography holidays are great for people before making major purchases. Bring whatever camera you have, try new things, experiment, and see what you feel is essential to the craft for you. If you are on a budget for now, start on the low end and upgrade or grow as you go.

What’s your number 1 tip for a beginner photographer?

The best things in life are experiences. Get yourself out and let yourself free to be inspired.

Shipwreck bay on island of Zakynthos

Famous Shipwreck Bay on the island of Zakynthos

Tell us about Zakynthos. What makes it unique to shoot in?

The light, the colours of the sea, and the simplicity of the natural surroundings make Zakynthos a wonderful photography destination, especially if you’re coming from the UK. While the UK gives you dramatic greens, castles and stone, and rural shots, you’ll find a whole new array of blues, white wash and sunsets that will present all new subject matter to work with. Make sure you come visit with plenty of memory/film to work with!

Dimitri works with Denia and her family to offer photography holidays on the wonderful island of Zakynthos. You can find more information about their photography holiday here.

Or feel free to browse our full range of photography holidays here.